From FOX News: Calls for Unity After Iraq Upsets Saudi Arabia at Asian Cup.
Hundreds of pages have been ripped from the calendar since Iraqis last showed the unity and happiness that flowed across the land on Sunday.
And it would have been foolhardy to predict a soccer team — the determined Lions of the Two Rivers — would unleash a flood of joy held back for decades by the dam of Saddam Hussein's tyranny and four-plus years of war since America toppled him.
But after the team's victory in the prestigious 2007 Asian Cup, the Iraqi people seemed far ahead of their leaders in letting sectarian bygones be bygones and allowing ethnic atrocities to fade.
Despite a security crackdown, curfews banning vehicles, and decrees forbidding the penchant in this part of the world to grab an AK-47 and rip off celebratory rounds, people rejoiced in the streets — and gunfire roared.
It roared across Baghdad at the second-half goal against Saudi Arabia. It was deafening when the underdog Lions sealed the 1-0 victory in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Iraq team's win dripped with symbolism, not least in the makeup of its front-line strikers: one Kurd, one Shiite, one Sunni.
State television said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was on the phone in seconds talking to the victors. The dour, hard-line Shiite leader announced only minutes into the game that each team member had been awarded $10,000.
And the leader's office quickly cranked out a note of congratulations:
"There is a big difference between The Lions of the Two Rivers who struggle to put a smile on the faces of their people and those who work in dark corners strewing death and sorrow in the paths of innocent people. We are proud of you. You deserve all our love and respect."
CNN has video.
UDPATE: The terrorists must of course make sure that this joy is short lived. From FOX News: 6 Dead After Minibus Explodes in Baghdad.
A minibus exploded Monday in a Baghdad market, killing at least six people — a brutal reminder of the dangers facing Iraqis, who only hours ago were joyously united after their underdog national soccer team won the prestigious Asian Cup.
Posted by Forkum at July 30, 2007 03:03 PM